NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers had a snowball's chance of staying cool this Christmas Eve.
With the record-breaking temperatures pushing 70 degrees by Thursday afternoon and a forecast of the mid-60s for Christmas Day, festive winter hats, scarves and coats gave way to T-shirts and shorts.
Roberto Mauro, who has dressed up as the resident Santa Claus on Rockefeller Center for the past 30 years, was struggling to keep cool under his red coat, red winter hat and a long white beard.
"If I could wear a T-shirt I would," said Mauro, who managed to keep up his cheery demeanor for his shorts-wearing audience.
"There have been warm ones, but I think this is the worst," Mauro said of the Christmas Eve temperatures, which were set to reach 73 degrees. "I've been here in zero degrees, and I prefer zero!"
Thursday's temperatures beat the highest Christmas Eve on record, 63 degrees in 1996.
Some tourists said they wished for the weather to be a little more seasonally appropriate.
"It's not what we expected. We were hoping for a white Christmas," said Bianca Compton, 25, who was on her honeymoon from Perth, Australia, where the couple usually enjoyed Christmas on the beach.
"This isn't a shock to the system for us," she laughed.
Josey Innis, a retired medical worker who lives in DUMBO and was doing last-minute Christmas shopping at the Fulton Mall, said the weather reminded her of the holidays her native Panama.
But after living in New York for 38 years, she grew accustomed to the more frigid Christmas temperatures.
“I’d rather it be cold,” she said, as she headed home to spend the rest of the day indoors preparing a feast of roast beef, string beans and yellow rice for about two dozen relatives.
“I’m going to be cooking and burning up inside,” she said.
Others said they appreciated the reprieve.
Shanuela Graham, of Flatbush, said the warm weather made running errands easier. She was spending her day off from her work as a secretary at a hospital to take her 5-year-old Elijah to doctors appointments.
It also made it easier to get her son out of the house without a battle over his coat.
“He doesn’t mind wearing his vest,” she said.
Still, she said she worried about how his immune system would hold up when the cold weather creeps back into the frigid temperatures. After a string of 60-degree days over the weekend, Monday's expected to dip down to 45 degrees, according to Accuweather.
“People don’t know how to dress the right way in this kind of weather. No jackets, no scarves. Then it gets colder later. You get sick that way,” said Graham, noting that her family’s had “the sniffles” on and off this season.
M. Abdul Batten, a street vendor who operates a fruit cart near Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope, said the weather was a boon since he tends not to work when it’s bitter cold.
“Warm weather is good for business,” he said. “When it’s cold, people buy little. They don’t want to stop.”
But some stores across the city posted the kinds of sales normally reserved for summer clearances rather than prime holiday shopping season.
Everything was 75 percent off at Old Navy and 40 percent of at Brooklyn Industries. Macy’s advertised its “After Christmas Prices Now!”
Johnny, a manager at the shop Ragga Muffin in Downtown Brooklyn's Fulton Street, where a Rich Cotton coat listed for $349 was on sale for $169, hung up sales signs across the store on Thursday morning
“Who’s going to buy boots or coats now?”